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Maldives launches pilot study on provision of school breakfasts

Mariyam Malsa
13 January 2019, MVT 16:08
Aminiya School students eating at the inauguration of the breakfast provision policy.
Mariyam Malsa
13 January 2019, MVT 16:08

Vice President Faisal Naseem, on Sunday, inaugurated the pilot study regarding breakfast provision in government schools.

Speaking at a ceremony held in Aminiya school, Vice President Faisal stated that adequate nutrition was crucial for students' achievement. Faisal also highlighted that an unprecedented amount had been allocated for the education sector in the 2019 State Budget.

According to Vice President Faisal, prosperity could not be maintained without creating a generation of healthy citizens.

Minister of Education Dr Aishath Ali also spoke at the ceremony. She stated that breakfast provision would have beneficial impacts on the health, behaviour and educational performance of the student population.

Dr Aishath also stressed the likelihood of facing difficulties while implementing a completely new policy. However, she assured that any issues that arose would be eliminated with experience.

Although breakfast is currently provided in classrooms, Dr Aishath stated that new schools developed in the future will be built with student cafeterias.

Additionally, the Minister called on the students to practise good behaviour and proper etiquette while taking their morning meal.

Menu Changes

Permanent Secretary of Education Mohamed Saeed informed Mihaaru, a local media outlet, that previously formulated menus were altered to include suggestions made at a public forum.

The first menu includes 11 items and the second menu consists of five items. The third and fourth menus include some of the previously determined items.

There were originally 10 menus which were compiled according to guidelines of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Input from the Health Protection Agency (HPA), nutritionists and other experts were also considered while formulating the menus.

Although only Aminiya School, Majeedhiyya School and Iskandar School provided free breakfast to students on Sunday, Saeed assured that the pilot study would be extended to a total of 25 schools across the country.

One school from each atoll and five schools in the capital were chosen to take part in the pilot study which is intended to cater to 14,720 students.

Breakfast provision in government schools is an electoral pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. The 2019 State Budget allocated MVR 50 million to fulfil the vow, which will cover 212 schools when fully implemented.

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